Special Collections authors you’ve never heard of
Part III: Gene Stratton-Porter
This week marks the 150 anniversary of the Indiana-born author Gene Stratton-Porter (1863-1924). Her interest in nature led her to a career in writing and photography for nature magazines. Stratton-Porter published a dozen novels as well as books of poetry and nature writing. Her novels, especially Freckles (1904) and A Girl of the Limberlost (1909) were quite popular with early 20th century readers, both for their fascinating depictions of Indiana’s threatened ecosystems as well as for the romance and adventure of her plots. Stratton-Porter was also a conservationist who used her fame and income to preserve Indiana’s wetlands. She also propagated endangered plants in her own gardens. Stratton-Porter moved to California after World War I, both for health reasons and to oversee her business interests in the film industry. Stratton-Porter formed her own movie production company; eight of her novels have been turned into film.
Special Collections owns several first editions of Stratton-Porter’s books, including a presentation copy of her long poem The Fire Bird and an autographed copy of her book of religious poems, Jesus of the Emerald.